Still combing blogs and lurking on twitter? Still think there’s just a bunch of goofballs ranting and raving and their message is falling on deaf ears or is purposely being ignored? You can keep thinking that, but before you dig your feet into the sand, allow me to share with you a brief clip of a conference that was held on April 3 with over 400 attendees that featured members of NJASCD and the NJDOE.
OK, the NJDOE and NJASCD work together all of the time. You got me. What’s the catch?
This conference (which I wasn’t at, but received most of the resources and pretty much virtually there through the tweets on #NJCCLS) had one message that was consistent from top NJDOE officials (including Tracey Severns, Bari Erlichson, and Pete Schulman): we are here and we are listening.
Yeah yeah, how was today different?
Bari Erlichson (@BariErlichson), Assistant Commissioner at the NJDOE, presented on feedback form PARCC over the past few weeks. Not just any feedback, but tweets exclusively from the #NJED chat that took place on Tuesday evening. The New Jersey Educators Chat (#NJED) had Bari on as a guest moderator where she took on a gauntlet of questions, comments, and concerns. Bari answered just about everything that was asked, and if she didn’t answer it in the chat, Bari assured she would get back to you with the correct information.
The chat covered everything from positives & pitfalls to what educators have done to help other navigate through testing. Matt Mingle (@mmingle1) was a champion of tweeting out during the actual testing to PARCC (@PARCCplace); his feedback (two-sided feedback, which is commendable) was discussed as critical and helped out others when they started. Natalie Franzi (@NatalieFranzi) took the 100+ page PARCC testing manual and chopped it down to around 10 meaningful pages to help those administering it get what they really need during the test. It was shared on the chat. Tim Charleston (@MrCsays) spoke about various devices he was going to use this week for the testing, and how everyone giving all of this feedback has helped him prepare for his district. Based on everyone’s dialogue, I was asking an array of questions (since I didn’t get to pilot), and an array of ‘tweeps’ answered my questions, putting some concerns to rest.
Bari took several of these tweets and incorporated them into her presentation today. She addressed several questions, comments, and concerns that arose in the chat and delivered it to an audience of over 400 dedicated movers-and-shakers in the NJ education field, many of which have not fully embraced the digital PLN yet. The twitter followers in the room lit up with delight (their phones and computers did too, giving shout-outs to everyone who was mentioned).
If seeing the Assistant Commissioner of Education embed tweets into her presentation to an audience does not change your opinion, I don’t know what will. Until then, keep tweeting… they ARE listening. Onward!